Over the years I have gathered over a thousand names to a petition calling for clarity and transparency from the council, I have lobbied the Council for a public meeting to help keep residents informed, and just last year I wrote once again to the Council’s Planning Department, both in my role as an MP and as a local resident, to stress the strength of feeling in our community in regards to the stadium.
This is an issue that is close to my heart. I shared in the anger of people who, like me, read that the Wakefield Council’s planning committee voted to approve the building of a warehouse by the developer Yorkcourt without the requirement to build a stadium, overturning the previous decision.
This decision breaks the promises made by the Council to local people who felt that the development should only go ahead if a community stadium was built, but also to fans who have waited for years now for a new stadium to be built.
Further, the decision was taken with very little transparency. The meeting was held with very short notice, with four new members being put on the planning committee and, I am told, there was an overwhelming feeling of bias in favour of the application in the documents presented at the meeting. The council should not have acted in this way.
I join with residents who are rightly annoyed that after so many years this stadium has not been built, and it is disappointing that Wakefield Council have approved this warehouse development, which will send a clear signal to other developers that if they delay and attempt to wriggle out of their promises for long enough, the council will back down.
Over the years I have pushed the Council to stand firm and demand that Yorkcourt delivers on the promise made to local people, in the coming days and weeks I will further explore what more I can do in my role as an MP to help support residents achieve the outcome they deserve.